How to Address Rude Behavior

The way you address rude behavior from your child might differ from the way other parents address rude behavior from their own children 3. According to psychologist James Lehman (1946-2010) at, the rude behaviors your child exhibits should be addressed according to their level of harm. Every child is different, and every rude behavior is different, but the approach to rude behavior is fairly simple.

Make it clear that rules have consequences when it comes to your child’s rude behavior, advises Linda Sonna, author of the book, “The Everything Tween Book,” reported at 1. For example, when your child knows she will lose a privilege such as watching TV or staying up later on the weekends, she is less likely to behave rudely. Discussing these rules with her when you make them ensures she is fully aware of the rules and the consequences.

Consider your child’s display of rude behavior and whether it is threatening, according to Lehman. For example, if you ask him to go take out the trash and you hear him mutter how much he hates chores, it’s OK to respond to this rude, but nonthreatening, behavior by ignoring it. Your child should be able to express his emotions and feelings, and as long as he’s not doing it in a harmful way, such as screaming at someone or refusing to do what he is required to do, it’s worth letting go.

Enforce the consequences for your child’s rude behavior when it is considered a threatening or outright defiant, according to Lehman. For example, if you ask your child to take out the trash, he refuses and proceeds to tell you how unfair you are and how much he hates you while screaming at you at the top of his lungs, it’s time to discipline him. Remove a privilege or ground him or whatever consequence you created for this type of behavior.

Try other methods of addressing rude behavior. According to the KidsHealth website, promoting positive behavior is an effective method of stopping rude behavior. For example, talk to your child about her behavior. Explain to her that she will not earn a later curfew or a bigger allowance or any other privileges if she continues to be rude. However, if she loses the rude attitude and begins to change her behavior, she can earn privileges.